Permission granted Care Act claim brought by Asylum Seeker: Are Local Authorities organised to meet the demands of care act assisted accommodation?

Tue, 08 Mar 2022

The Queen on the application of Anderbrhn v Croydon Comissioning Group CO/1106/2021

Permission to judicial review has been granted in a case where an Asylum seeker sought social services support under the Care Act 2014, through a referral made by the local police force in Croydon.

Asylum seekers are not eligible for Care Act support because they are excluded by reason of paragraph 1 of the Schedule 3 Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. However, in such circumstances, a local authority is required to not only assess if there are two or more assessed needs in accordance to Regulation 2 Care (eligibility of needs) Regulation 2015, but they are required to conduct a human rights assessment. A breach of Article 3, whereby there is risk of ill treatment, allows the Local Authority to exercise the power to provide urgent support under Section 19(3) Care Act 2014 to an asylum seeker, if there are both eligible needs and a risk of human rights breaches. Under Section 8 of the Care Act 2014, support can take the form of accommodation. The Claimant required out of borough assisted accommodation.

The police referral was made because the Claimant had been the victim of a serious acid attack and there was a risk of repetition from gang members (out of borough would have reduced the risk of repetition).The Claimant, who resided in temporary asylum hotel accommodation in Croydon, was in need of out of borough accommodation supported by social workers ‘(assisted accommodation’). Whilst the Claimant was provided with intensive social workers support, with four visits a day to help him with his eye dressing, washing and eating, he remained in hotel accommodation that was small and unsuitable for him as a severely visually impaired person.

The Judicial Review challenged the failure of the Defendant local authority to work with another nearby borough to ensure that the Claimant was moved out of borough and provided with assisted accommodation. The application was supported by a witness statement of a charity support worker; which highlighted other needs that were not appropriately addressed in the care plan:

Seare needs to be given medication, food, assistance with showering and cleaning up. He also needs to be taken for a walk daily. The care plan also does not consider Seare’s need for therapy. Currently, if the carers have issues, for example to do with Seare’s medication, they contact me in order for me to contact the doctor.He requires an assigned social worker to manage Seare’s affairs, organise his schedule and finances.’

During the interim relief hearing, there was debate over what form the assisted accommodation could take, highlighting that Local Authorities may not have the system of supported accommodated to meet the requirements of the Care Act 2014. Most Local government has historically focused on assisted accommodation for the elderly but there is distinct neglect to provide such accommodation to other categories.

On the 12th November 2021, permission was granted to judicially review the Defendant. In granting permission it was said that ‘it is arguable that the nature and extent of the Claimants physical and mental health needs are such that the Defendants assessment that he does not require assisted accommodation is irrational and/ a breach of statutory duty.

Nabila regularly acts in public law challenges. She was instructed by Lawstop Solicitors.
In separate Judicial Review proceedings, commenced by Bhatt Murphy, the police failure to take action so as to ensure that the Claimant was taken out of area, thus risking him to degrading treatment has been commenced.

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